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Qatar…Four Days Left - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Whether there are 4 or 40 days left of the term granted by the four countries to Qatar, Doha doesn’t seem determined to find a solution for the most dangerous crisis of its modern history.

Qatar is mostly trying to maneuver around the 13 demands of the countries boycotting it- Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt. It even said the conditions are impossible to meet.

Doha is overlooking the fact that these demands aim to put an end to terrorism support and interference in internal affairs of other countries. It is the Qatari behavior that led it to this point.

Describing the requests as impossible exposes Doha’s failure to comply with demands it had previously pledged to and surely didn’t execute.

Qatar is fully aware that meeting the demands will lead to overcoming this crisis, and simultaneously, it realizes that this time the commitments will be drastically different. There is no chance of manipulating the deals like it used to do.

In responding to the boycotting countries’ accusations of funding terrorism, Doha tries to portray itself as a little lamb.

Did the four countries overreact?

Facts show that Saudi Arabia and the other countries had previously presented Qatar with a list of wanted persons involved in terrorist activities targeting the security and stability of the kingdom and its citizens.

Despite its promises, Qatar received more, allowed them to conspire against their native nations and even granted some the Qatari nationality. It protected members and leaders of terrorist and extremist groups and granted them its full support inside and outside the country.

In a March 2014, US Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen said Qatar “has become such a permissive terrorist financing environment, that several major Qatar-based fundraisers act as local representatives for larger terrorist fundraising networks that are based in Kuwait.”

Cohen added that Qatari government is supporting extremist groups operating in Syria.

“To say the least,” he concluded, “this threatens to aggravate an already volatile situation in a particularly dangerous and unwelcome manner.”

Is that all? No.

A 2014 State Department country report on terrorism reported Qatar shutting down Saad al-Kaabi’s online fundraising platform, yet a year later, a subsequent Treasury sanctions designation noted Kaabi was still actively involved in financing al-Qaeda in Syria.

Another case involves Abd al-Malik Abd al-Salam, known as Umar al-Qatari, Jordanian with Qatari residency, who provided “broad support” to al-Qaeda in Syria, according to the Treasury.

In 2011 and 2012 Umar al-Qatari worked with associates in Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Qatar, and Iran to raise and move funds, weapons, and facilitate fighter travel.

The authorities did nothing to clear their name, not to forget harboring one of the most dangerous terrorist, the mastermind behind September 11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and then releasing him.

There are many cases during which Qatari authorities supported terrorism on its territories and under the protection of governmental institutions.

Did Qatar surprise us by not responding to the demands? Surely not. Can it return to the Gulf union? The answer is yes, but wishing alone is not enough to solve rooted political problems.

Four days are left and Qatar is continuing its revolutionary policy preferring to hit a brick wall rather than dealing with the straining issue wisely. Up till now, Doha is in shock and anger and when it wakes, no one can know when that will happen, and accepts a serious solution for the crisis, it will then be too late and it would have suffered a loss too great for compensation.

The billions of dollars in its sovereign fund will be of no use and “money can buy you anything” principle will not save it.

A serious damage inflicted the system itself and the only way to restore it is through a dangerous surgery.

The worse is yet to come, Qatar.

Salman Al-dossary

Salman Al-dossary

Salman Aldosary is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

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